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Thematic Issues
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The Maastricht Treaty is an elite pact, imagined, bargained, and concluded within a very small circle of politicians and government officials. The process of its elaboration, negotiation and application has been run to a large extent outside of any control of the European public opinion.

Beyond the introduction of a single currency, the real aim of this process is to build a single state power in Europe. The German reunification, which let the spectre of a more powerful Germany hang over the other countries, explains prima facie the pressure of the other Governments for an integration of states in Europe. But, more in depth, this policy stems from the previous creation, through the Single European Act, of a large free market escaping the control of the Governments. Hence the "necessity" perceived by the political leaders, notably the French, to install the elements of a future European State, so as to "regulate" this market and, later, to have a supposed mean of power on the international scene, via, first, the monetary instrument, and, second, a cooperation in the traditional statist fields of police, justice and defense.

This work shows which are the deep objectives of this policy - beyond the purely economic aspects, they consist in the organization and the integration of the ruling class at the scale of Europe out of the control of the national middle classes, and in the further restructuring and re-stratification of European society as they have been undertaken by the ruling class for now over 20 years. Germany, as a society with a strong middle class and high salaries, oriented towards the "Rhineland capitalism", is one of the countries that will be the most struck by this policy.

Finally, the article shows which will be the consequences - political, economic and social as well - for Europe : increased incontrollability of the European political class, continuation of the recessionary economic trends, application to Labor of the "adjustment costs" resulting from competitiveness gaps, accelerated "adaptation" of the social security and tax systems as well of the public sectors.


European Union - EMU - Euro - Monetary Policy - Economic Policy - Ruling Class - State Power


Patrick HUNOUT is a social psychologist and a senior researcher. His research concerns mental models as the driving or braking factor in the context of contemporary social change. In this perspective, he applies his approach to several fields crucial for the current transformations: Capital-Labor Relationships (including economic policies), Interethnic Relationships, and Interpersonal Relationships.

Patrick ZILTENER has been a Research Assistant at the University of Zürich, Switzerland. After he studied Sociology, Economics and History at the University of Basel and at the Freie Universität Berlin, he joined the Sociological Institute of the University of Zürich, where he works on European matters. His Ph.D. Thesis on the structural transformation of the European integration was published in 1999. He is now a researcher at the Max Planck Institute Cologne, Germany.


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